Hello my name is Anna and this is my first post.
I am in need of desperate advice and help with regards to maintaining a safe and stable PH in my tropical aquarium. Currently I have a 120lt tank with an assortment of tropical fish bought from our local fish store. I noticed the other day after testing my water that the PH was at 8.1, usually my tank sits at 7.6. Nothing inside my tank had changed and decided to test the tap water prior to a water change, once aerated the water from our tap tested at 8.2! I'm unsure how the tap waters PH has changed so drastically in our area but it has.
After seeing the reading on my Aqua One Propen I freaked out a little and instantly ran to our local fish store and purchased Seachem Acid buffer to lower the PH. Over the course of the next 3/4 days I dosed my tank twice a day to reduce the Ph by 0.1 each time with the goal to achieve a PH of 7.5, by doing so I've created quite a mess for myself and am desperately seeking some advice on how to fix, get back to normal & I'm unsure if I'm hurting the fish in the process and should leave my PH alone.
My issues now
Currently I have a PH that sits around 7.5/6 during the middle of the day but constantly fluctuates throughout the day (It's a planted tank) 7.4 early morning and prior to lights out 7.7. Is this normal? Have I created these swings by using the Acid Buffer? I tested my KH and it's at 2 degrees, I assume the acid buffer is cause for this? My hardness is 8/9 degrees.
I'm concerned that the fluctuating PH will harm my fish and I could potentially lose them, are my concerns for nothing, is this normal for all aquariums?
Secondly my biggest issues is now water changes, after lowering my PH to an unstable 7.4 - 7.6 I tried to prepare a 40lt container of buffed water to complete a water change using Seachem Acid buffer and Alkaline buffer following the guide on the Alkaline buffer bottle to achieve a 7.5.76PH. My calculation was based on 40lts as follows;
Tap water once aerated - 8.2 - Goal PH 7.5/6 = 0.6 point drop.
I used 6g of acid buffer and 15g of Alkaline buffer as directed by the ratio 1 part acid : 2.5 parts Alkaline which in theory should give me a PH of 7.6ish... As each 1g of acid buffer per 40lts drops the PH by 0.1 - as I understand it. I filled my 40lt container aerated and tested PH - 8.2, added the mixed acid buffer solution in first and then mixed the alkaline buffer in second and waited 35mins before testing the water parameters with my Ph pen.
First test was a PH of 7.5! I was so excited that it'd at least been within the area I wanted, I let aerate for another 35mins (in the hope of stability)and tested again and the prepared water was at 8.2 again!
Please help! What am I doing wrong! Why can't I maintain a stable PH in my prepared water container? Does PH fluctuate in all aquariums naturally? If I decide that lowering and preparing water is too difficult will my tropical fish survive the 8.0+ PH!
Should I leave my tap water alone?
Currently lost and overwhelmed.
Any advice would be nice!